Should I Smash My 2X III TC With a Baseball Bat? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Should I Smash My 2X III TC With a Baseball Bat?


As predicted Friday afternoon was superb. On Saturday we enjoyed some great pre-dawn blur action followed by a glorious sunrise. Then it was more SW winds and more clear skies….

This blog post took less than an hour to prepare and, if I did everything right, it should be published automatically at 6am on Sunday, August 16, 2015.

Namibia IPT

If you missed the info on this great trip, please click here. So far we have assembled a cast of international participants: one from the US, two from South Africa, one from Hong Kong, and one from Australia. More than a few are world class photographic talent….

Should I Smash My 2X III TC With a Baseball Bat?

A few years back, my friend Andy Rouse had this to say about 2X teleconverters:

…. take the 2x converter, place it gently on the ground so that it is bathed in lovely soft, evening light. Then paint your teeth red and smash it violently to pieces with a large baseball bat, cackling maniacally all the time at passers by. Go on do it, it will feel so good. Now before you think I have an issue against Canon 2x converters, I don’t! I hate ALL 2x teleconverters equally!!! I consider them a complete waste of space and money; it is always better to use a 1.4x teleconverter and crop. Of course that is just my view!


This image was created at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on the 2nd morning of the Nickerson Beach IPT. I used the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/8.

Center AF point (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The righ hand assist point barely caught the spot where the bird’s neck and breast meet. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs with spray flying after invertebrate capture

Me and My 2X III TC

Andy is a widely traveled highly respected wildlife photographer with more than a few BBC honored images under his belt. Like me he is highly opinionated and like me, he enjoys making waves on occasion. In this case as regular readers might surmise, I disagree with him. To my eye, the images of this bird that I made with the 2X III TC looked sharper than the images that I made with the 600 II alone…. Do see the 100% crop below.

Image Question

Are there any subtle or obvious signs of background image clean-up or any signs of major Photoshop hanky panky? If yes, state your case and offer your proof.

What Do You Think?

What do you think of the image sharpness, the image quality, and the fine feather detail?


This is an unsharpened 100% crop of today’s featured image.

The 100% Crop

To my eye, this image is professionally sharp and exhibits satisfactory fine feather detail. Of course that is just my view!


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32 comments to Should I Smash My 2X III TC With a Baseball Bat?

  • avatar John Spencer

    Great shot Artie, confirms what I have always suspected – that any poor images with the X2 are more likely to be due to my poor technique. To be fair to Andy he has put the bat down recently, hope he doesn’t mind me quoting this:- “I regularly used the Canon 2x teleconverter for a lot of my work. Now usually I hate the 2x converter but the version 3 is great and sharp….provided you shoot it at f11 or f16. Now usually shooting anything at this high aperture would mean a lot of annoying background in focus, but not with the 2x, there is nothing in focus!!! Shooting at such a high aperture ensures that the image given by the converter is sharp. I adopt the same policy for the 1.4x converter as well. shooting f8 with this one.”

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      The 2X III TC was available when he made his original comments. But good that he is open and willing to change. artie

  • avatar Geoff

    The 2xTCIII and I have a very good relationship whether it is on the 70-200 f/2.8, 300 f/2.8, 600 f/4 or even the 200-400 it always brings home top quality images IMHO. That said, mounted on the 100-400II, it was sort of disappointing but then again so is f/11 light…LOL

    People who can’t get sharp photos with the 2xTCIII need to start looking in the mirror…

    Also someone commented about it not working on the high pixel bodies like 7D2 and 5DS….IMHO that is a load of BS. It still gains resolution on my 7D2 vs 1.4TC and cropping. Micro focus adjustment may be needed and very good technique but if you have those two things then it still outperforms a crop.

  • Hey Artie, I already have a couple of smashed 2x TCs and just received two 1.4x TC’s back from service. I will probably smash another 2x in the future but like the others it will not have been on purpose. Gorgeous image by the way, I love the blend of gold and blue in the fore and background. Good Shooting!

  • avatar Jeff Robinson

    One thing that needs to be considered for whether you lose sharpness with a teleconverter is pixel size. With my 6D (and a 1DX and 5DII/III have similar pixel sizes) I own lenses where a teleconverter definitely helps with reach. If I put the same lens/teleconverter on my 7DII (and the 5DS has a similar pixel size), there I can see enough loss of sharpness that the teleconverter really adds no value. I do, however, have one prime telephoto lens that I will use on my 7DII, and the 2X is worthwhile there. Thus a smaller pixel size doesn’t mean a 2x is useless, but it does mean your lens (and technique) has to be that much better for it to add value.

    One other thing to be aware of is that newer Canon bodies like the 7DII record micro-focus adjustments with teleconverter combinations (they track by serial number). For example, for my 100-400 II, I have one set of values for the lens by itself, a second for that lens with my older 1.4x II, and a third for my 1.4x III. Each of those combinations produce different optimum offsets. So if you believe you get value from doing micro-focus adjustments, you should do each lens with each teleconverter you will use with it. (I hate taking the time to calibrate all these combinations, but I hate even more getting an otherwise great photo where the eye wasn’t sharp because my lens front or back focused.)

  • avatar rey sta ana

    The latest optics technology are quite superb. I once stacked a Kenko 1.4X TC and a Canon 2X TCIII to get a bigger image of the subject in the frame which is a nesting Philipine Eagle about 180 to 200 meters away. I know that it would just be a record shot but I was so surprised that the image was still very usable and was even good enough to be printed.

  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Artie, loved this post. The TC 2x image is just fine .
    Please don’t smash your TC . I will come and get it.
    I will give it a loving home and take very good care of it I promise.
    I’m a builder and I learnt very early on that a good workman never blames his tools.
    So I suspect Andy was expressing his frustration in a somewhat humourous way. Was he serious? Who knows.
    Perhaps he had not used the lens align system to fine tune his rig at that stage.
    Maybe he was up early and had missed his cup of coffee.
    Whatever the reason, we all have to get better at shooting with skill and good technique.
    Slow breathing, steady hand , solid support, shoot between heartbeats all that good stuff.
    I learned to wield my hammer with great skill over the years and there are many things that will benefit from a judicious ‘tap’ with a hammer.
    Lots of stuff can be fixed this way but there are some exceptions.
    # one Relationships… You can’t fix these with a bash.
    # two. Your computer. … Don’t bash this either.
    # three….. Your 2 X TC
    If you sharpen the axe you won’t have to swing it so hard.
    In this case smarter makes better.
    So keep the images and hang on to that TC.
    From down under.

  • avatar Larry Brown

    IMHO the Lesser Yellowleg images are as sharp as it gets. If Andy wants to get rid of the 2x III converter, I will gladly take it off his hands.

  • avatar Stuart Andrews

    A great capture but perhaps a little unfair to quote something Andy Rouse said “a few years back”. This seems to suggest more than two years! What does Andy say now in 2015?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      2013. As I noted elsewhere, the 2X III was already in production and that is what he was commenting on. So actually very fair 🙂 a

  • avatar Brian

    Artie…excuse my ignorance ..but what is IPT?
    I’m always encouraged by your photos and helpful hints.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      An IPT is a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour. Click on the link on the fifth item (BAA IPTs) on the yellow/orange bar at the top of each page to see the current schedule. As you can see by Scott’s comments here, IPTs are the best place to learn to improve as a photographer. artie

      ps: thanks for the kind words 🙂

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    This one is gorgeous !!! Colors in the foreground and background are unique and phenomenal. Another top favorite.
    Sharpness and feather detail look great to me.
    There could be a dupe and flip horizontally of the background on the right side top and also below the bird’s tail. Probably not though, as it looks perfectly natural.

  • avatar Jeff Sielski

    Hi Art, Beautiful Image!!

  • avatar Anne Wateson

    Beautiful image!
    I don’t understand how a 2x tc can make a sharper image than using just the 600mm. Are you just pulling our collective legs? ;p

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Not pulling anyone’s leg. Just my honest opinion. How does the image look to you? a

  • avatar Frederick Correa

    For one thing, Andy needs to use a cricket bat, He’s a Limey!

    I agree with Andy on the older super teles and extenders. But the new teles and extenders are remarkable. I use my 300f2.8 mkII with the 2xIII on 90% of the time as i cannot manage anything heavier. Images are very pleasing to me and meet my needs. Just did a product assignment where I had to use the 2xIII in order to isolate the subject from busy surroundings in a manufacturing plant. To my surprise, the client included that particular image as one of 30 for their website. So we go back to the old adage; “it’s what works at the time”.
    Thanks Artie.

  • avatar Scott Borowy

    I was sitting right next to Artie in the shallow muck when he captured this image (group members have picture proof), and what he came away with was absolutely stunning. I had capable equipment and close proximity to this Lesser Yellowlegs and I don’t believe I got an image this technically and aesthetically perfect, but that is why I came on this Nickerson IPT.

    If it takes 10,000 hours to master something, do yourself a favor and make sure those early hours are spent with Artie on an IPT. You may not always agree with him or have the same taste in photography as him, but he has aspirations of winning a BBC Photography Award and he will train you with that mindset. If you put aside your preferences, tag along by Artie’s side for just a few days, and ask clarifying questions, you will learn a great deal of things.

    • avatar Scott Borowy

      As an added bonus, you have the chance to meet a group of like-minded individuals from all walks and points in their life. Your mileage may vary, but we had a great group and the energy really enhances the experience.

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Thanks Scott. I must say that Scott fits right in to my very favorite category: super nice guy, sweet as sugar, eager to learn, intelligent, helpful and kind. In short, a very Happy Camper 🙂 a

  • STUNNING original Image !!! Blurred foreground & background gives awesome dimension … along with radiant bird ” whites ” … PLUS, unusual blues/gold-ish beach colors in between. INSPIRING !

  • avatar Sarah Mayhew

    Incredible sharpness for that combo!!

  • avatar Charles Scheffold

    Beautiful image! Now you can smash it.

  • avatar Steve Stadler

    If I had the skill to capture images like this with or without a 2x teleconverter, I would be bouncing off the walls with joy!! I am practicing and improving, but WOW!!! You constantly give us goals to reach for!!! Love It!! Wonderful Shot!!

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    The 100% crop is fabulous! Absolutely amazing!!